Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)

DAD Advocacy Service provides an IMHA service across Darlington and Tees Valley.

How to access an IMHA:

People should be offered to be referred for an IMHA by the hospital or health professional if they are eligible.  The hospital or mental health professional will know how to refer for an IMHA.

If you are in a hospital in Darlington or live in Darlington you can contact us directly on 01325 360524 or 01325 489999 or email us at

If you are in a hospital in another town or live in the Tees Valley area please click this link Who we can help and referral information, which will explain how to access an IMHA in your area. 

What is an IMHA?

Independent Mental Health Advocates also known as an IMHA is a right for anyone detained under most sections of the Mental Health Act, whether you are in hospital, a community treatment order or on guardianship.

IMHAs are independent can help you get your opinions and views heard and make sure you know your rights.

An IMHA can work with people:

  • Of all ages, who are detained (sectioned) for longer than 72 hours under the Mental Health Act
  • On a Community Treatment Order
  • On guardianship
  • Who are informal patients but are being considered for serious surgery, like neurosurgery, for a mental disorder
  • Who are informal patients under the age of 18 if they are being considered for electro convulsive therapy (ECT)

What does an IMHA do?

IMHAs have had extra training about the Mental Health Act. They can help you understand:

  • Your rights under the Mental Health Act
  • How to make your views heard by the people involved in your care and treatment
  • Why you have been detained
  • Any conditions or restrictions which apply to you
  • How to appeal against your section.

IMHAs help you gather the information you need, and can access your medical records if you want them to. They can go to ward rounds and meetings with you or represent you if you can't go yourself.

Accessing an IMHA is free and it is your right to be referred to an IMHA if you are eligible for their services.


How you can support us

As a local organisation we very much rely on the support of our local community. We support over 2,000 people every year to have greater choice and control and remove the barriers that disabled adults and children experience in their everyday lives. But we need YOUR help.

Click here to find out how you can support us

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